Our Mission is to Change Children’s Lives.
Our charitable partners help make that happen.
Going Beyond Our Community
Parkreation’s mission is to create beautiful and accessible outdoor areas where children can enjoy the wonders of play. Through our partnerships, we are able to extend past our local communities to see this mission grow. When children play together, they learn teamwork, empathy, and the value of friendship. These lessons are vital for the next generation of change-makers in the world. Our team at Parkreation is passionate about helping these children enjoy all that life has to offer!
Where limitations are forgotten, and differences are celebrated!
Building Universally Accessible Playgrounds
Three-year-old Zachary Blakemore provided the original inspiration behind Unlimited Play. Zachary suffers from a rare genetic central nervous system disease (Pelizaeus Merzbacher Disease) that confines him to a wheelchair or assistive walking device. But like all children, Zachary loves to play.
When his mother Natalie would take Zachary to the park to play, the playground would only emphasize his limitations. And even more frustrating was the fact that the playground’s barriers that stopped him from playing also prevented him from interacting with the other children.
But after visiting an accessible playground while traveling to the east coast, Zachary’s parents Natalie and Todd began to dream of creating an accessible playground in Zachary’s hometown – and of the day when playgrounds like this would exist for children everywhere. They teamed with Zachary’s pediatric speech therapist, and Unlimited Play was born in 2003.
Featured Unlimited Play Project
Round Lake Area Park District, Unlimited Play, and Parkreation are teaming up to bring Hero Park to the community of Round Lake, Illinois!
With its extensive scope of accessibility, Hero Park will expand the horizons for all families, serving as a place where empathy and friendship can blossom. We all have heroes in our daily lives, and they come in all shapes and sizes.
Hero Park truly will be a place where everyone is a hero! Make a donation to help make it happen!
Alex’s Lemonade Stand
Fighting childhood cancer, one cup at a time!
When Life Gives You Lemons… Make Lemonade!
When Alex, who was diagnosed with childhood cancer just before her first birthday, was 4 years old, she told her parents she wanted to set up a lemonade stand in their front yard. Her plan: to give the money to doctors to help them find a cure. Her first “Alex’s Lemonade Stand” (held with the help of her older brother, Patrick) raised an astonishing $2,000 in one day. While bravely fighting her own cancer, Alex continued to set up lemonade stands every year. As news spread of the remarkable girl so dedicated to helping other sick children, people everywhere were inspired to start their own lemonade stands — donating the proceeds to her cause.
In 2004, when Alex passed away at the age of 8 — her stand and inspiration had raised more than $1 million towards finding a cure for the disease that took her life. Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) was started by her parents in 2005 to continue the work that Alex began. Its mission is simple: to change the lives of children with cancer through funding impactful research, raising awareness, supporting families and empowering everyone to help cure childhood cancer.
Parkreation has raised over $10,000 at our annual Alex’s Lemonade Stand Fundraiser at the IAPD/IPRA Conference!
Kids Around the World
Bringing Play to Children Everywhere!
Playgrounds are more than metal and plastic!
Play opens doors, drops barriers, expands minds, and heals wounds. These benefits are often what is needed most in places where the brokenness of this world hits kids the hardest through child labor and exploitation, neighborhood violence and war, or the limited resources available to children living in deep poverty. By strategically integrating play into areas of need, seeds of hope take deeper root and the opportunity for genuine harvest is realized.
We build playgrounds in both the US and abroad. Our domestic playground projects all rely on new products from US commercial brands. These are typically used at schools, churches, retreat centers, summer camps, and much more. For international projects, we can use new products, but our innovative “green” approach allows us to do much more for far less than a new playground would require.
We partner with playground manufacturers, playground installers, Parks & Recreation Directors, and school districts to locate quality playgrounds that are set to be removed and replaced. Existing playgrounds are removed and replaced for a number of reasons, be it grants, city policy, insurance lapse, rezoning, etc. We are committed to taking only playgrounds that have significant play-life left in them, which means that we don’t take every playground offered to us. Our harvested playgrounds are refurbished at our warehouses and made ready for years and years of future play for a fraction of the cost of new playgrounds!